India's largest bitcoin trading platform - Zebpay- is betting big on the rising acceptance of the cryptocurrency across markets. From trade volume of Rs 100 crore last fiscal the company targets over Rs 1,000 crore this fiscal.
Uncertain times sure tend to bring cheer to the digital currency bitcoin. Be it Brexit, the Greek referendum of 2015, or the US Presidential race immediately followed by the surprise demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes in India; in all instances the price of bitcoin has appreciated considerably.
The cryptocurrency, also termed as ‘virtual gold’, is steadily becoming a safe haven for investment and a medium to hedge against future currency volatility.
On Zebpay, India’s largest bitcoin trading platform, the trading price spiked to a high of Rs 69,621 (approx USD 1,000) per BTC in the last week of November, whereas the global market average stood at around USD 735 per BTC.
Sandeep Goenka, COO and Co-founder of Zebpay told Moneycontrol that in times of national debt or currency crisis, bitcoin price rallies. "The rise in bitcoin price usually dies rather quickly, but this time it is sustaining, which could be because of the added interest due to demonetisation," he said.
"The liquidity of bitcoin in the Indian market is very less, because we don’t have large-scale (blockchain) mining activity in India. In every price rally, bitcoin appreciates more in India compared to other countries as the demand side outweighs the supply due to lack liquidity," he added.
Goenka said the jump in bitcoin users and trading activity has kept Zebpay really busy, especially after the government drained out Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
"We clocked around Rs 75 crore worth of trade volume in the month of November, which is likely to double in the next 2-3 months," he said. In comparison, Zebpay could only muster Rs 100 crore worth trade volumes in FY16.
Zebpay recently crossed 200,000 users and is adding around 50,000 users every month and Goenka expects the user base and volume to double in the next 3 months and sees this trend to continue going forward.
"The demand for this technology has overwhelmed us and we have broken all our internal targets," Goenka said.
The bitcoin trading platform aims to cross Rs 1,000-crore trade-volume mark in FY17. "We plan to add an extra zero to the trade volumes every year," Goenka said.
He admitted the target is an ambitious one, but his optimism stems from the huge opportunity bitcoins offer. "Bitcoins are still taking baby steps in India," he said. "Currently China does a trade volume of Rs 15,000-20,000 crore in a single day, so these figures [Zebpay's annual targets] are still comparatively very small," he added.
"Our target is to cross 700,000 users by the end of FY17," he further said.
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